Leading up to the Buffalo Bills’ preseason game against the Denver Broncos, we knew the potential existed for the Bills to put on a show. Afterall, much of the discussion centered around head coach Sean McDermott’s decision to play the majority of starters, while Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett chose to sit the majority of his starting 22. But this type of performance...in the preseason? It may be fair to say it felt most of the afternoon like an NFL team was lined up against something other than an NFL team.
Plenty of points for Kids Day
The preseason is usually when teams iron out kinks ahead of the games that count. But rarely is it that an NFL team gets completely rattled in a one-sided affair, preseason or otherwise. Certainly, the score doesn’t count, nor do all the fancy stats. But it’s hard to ignore the disparity between these two clubs as it played out today.
Stats for everyone
Heading into halftime, the Bills were in cruise control, ahead 28-6. Josh Allen exited early following a performance of 3/3 for 45 yards and a pretty touchdown toss to Gabe Davis. All eyes were then on Case Keenum, who underwhelmed last week against the Indianapolis Colts. He delivered a rousing performance, going 16/18 for 192 yards and 1 TD. Keenum IS this team’s QB2, and Bills Mafia should welcome his talent.
As a team, Buffalo was 26 of 29 for 302 yards with 2 TDs and no turnovers. Three incompletions between three quarterbacks. Wow. And on the ground, pound they did—209 yards on 27 carries among five running backs and Matt Barkley. Zack Moss and Duke Johnson each scored a pair of TDs.
Punting an afterthought
Buffalo scored a touchdown every time the had the ball in the first half. Not ideal for the punting competition, but Kids Day never promises a punting competition. Finally, with barely 8:00 minutes left in the game, the Bills attempted a punt. They had to—and Matt Haack didn’t let anyone down, pinning the Broncos deep on a 38-yard punt. Even in mercy, Buffalo was firing on all cylinders.
Depth for days on display
It didn’t matter who was on the field for the Bills—the entire roster was simply too much for the Broncos. From the near-perfect first half, to the continued dominance, Buffalo appeared far more prepared and playing with a sense of urgency. Roster decisions are going to be some of the hardest ever for all involved.
(Of note was the play/situation along the right side of the offensive line. We’ll cover that more in-depth as the week unfolds.)
McCloud went to the locker room for stitches following a face laceration in the first quarter. He made it back out to the sideline soon after, and had a strong hit late in the fourth. Great to see his resiliency.
Looking ahead to next week
The Bills travel to North Carolina to close out their preseason slate against the Carolina Panthers next Friday, August 26 at 7:00 PM Eastern.